The Historical Transformation of Gender and Sexuality Ideology behind Relationship Education in the National Curriculum Guideline and the Textbooks of Junior High Schools in Changing Taiwan (1999-2022)

Yen-Jung Tseng, University at Albany, SUNY

After enforcing martial law for thirty-eight years, Taiwan has experienced a compressed social changing process in which progressive social movements of feminism, sexual liberation, and LGBTQ+ rights have been prosperous in the last three decades and has become the first country to legalize same-sex marriage in Asia in 2019. However, Taiwanese society has experienced backlash from conservative right-wing religious groups at the same time. The fast-changing ideologies of gender and sexuality have reflected on and reinforced the different versions of the national guidelines in different periods. The research will analyze the three versions of the national curriculum guideline in 1999, 2010, and 2019, and representation of the ideology of gender and sexuality in textbooks from 2003 to 2022, after the lifting of Martial Law until legalizing same-sex marriage. The national curriculum guideline is published by the Ministry of Education and leads the publishers to edit the textbooks and teaching material. About every ten years, the Ministry of Education organizes a special committee of diverse educational experts and related interest groups, such as student groups, parent groups, and NGOs, to “produce” the national curriculum guideline. Therefore, devising a national curriculum guideline is dynamic because the committee is a battlefield where different social forces fight for their values. The national curriculum guideline is, therefore, a site to reflect the struggle of the gender and sexual ideology of Taiwanese society. The research will adopt text analysis to examine the contents of three versions of the National Curriculum Guideline and the textbooks of junior high schools to discuss the ideologies of gender and sexuality in Taiwan. The data will be examined by critical and focused reading and put into the context of historical changes in Taiwanese society to discuss the vital link between the change of ideology in the educational system and changing society.

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 Presented in Session 63. Gender and the State